Considering social investment too often puts the cart before the horse.

Here's how Access’ new Enterprise Development Programme is helping organisations like Primal Roots to take back the reins.

At a recent Let's Talk Good Finance event we met Carl Adams, who founded 'Primal Roots' with fitness professionals Steve Denby, Liu Batchelor, Giles Seaford and Richard Barnard. Primal Roots is a woodland-based mindful movement gym based across Kent. Their sessions are free to people experiencing homelessness and/or addiction. Holding gym sessions in woodland, they help people experiencing mental and social challenges to reach their full potential.

It might just be a day to start with, then a week. We’ve got stories of people with long periods of sobriety and in recovery.

About Primal Roots

Steve, Carl and Richard have all experienced homelessness and/or addiction, so their passion is personal. Carl is sure this is a hugely important part of the success they have in working with individuals experiencing these same challenges.

But it’s not just that being in woodland is a nice thing to do… there’s a positive medical impact in the fact that their gym environment and their workouts are outside. According to the Woodland Trust, trees play a vital role in improving mental health and wellbeing.

Image of primal roots

Taking the leap and going for funding

Carl had a chat with us about Primal Roots and the role of the AccessEnterprise Feasibility Grant  in supporting their mission. They have recently been awarded this by Social Investment Business (SIB).

For Carl, taking risk is a core attribute of being a social entrepreneur. Having already set up a couple of successful social enterprises he understands that you need to be brave enough to try new things and accepts that failure is all part of learning. However getting support to try and develop new enterprising ideas such as the development of a new service or product takes time and money. 

If you don’t take a leap of faith in life then you’re never going to get anywhere.

With the help of  Sophie from Homeless Link, who sat with him to explain how the enterprise development scheme worked over a coffee, he was able to see an opportunity the feasibility grant could play in helping Primal Roots plan for growth. The Enterprise Feasibility Grant helps people transition to new enterprise models or grow existing ones. And they hope will allow them to work with experts in outdoor fitness and finance. These are the areas they have identified they need to develop to help them gain knowledge and build a robust business plan, before testing their ideas.

About the Enterprise Development programme

Listen to Deborah Smart from SIB, on the Enterprise Development programme & how feasibility grants work:


About the feasibility grant:

  • £5-10k
  • For early stage work to investigate and develop an enterprise proposition from early stage to proposed delivery plan.
  • Can be used for internal & external costs.

Future plans for Primal Roots

After trialling their new product they have plans which might then require social investment in the future. They’re also hoping to establish a home at the Forestry Commission site at Bedgebury soon. So keep an eye out for that!

Or better still, alongside their woodland gym membership and personal training income, they want to develop an offering for corporate team building away days in the forest. These sessions will provide employment and work experience opportunities for Primal Roots’ trainees who've experienced homelessness and/or addiction.

So get ready for their future plans, book your corporate away day with Primal Roots, & get fit and out amongst the trees. After all it’s not just good for your health, it’s good business!


Carl Adams @RunPrimal

Image of Carl Adams

Interested to find out if social investment could help your organisation? 

We met Carl at a Good Finance event and we'd love to meet you too! Good Finance events are a great opportunity to learn about social investment and meet other social entrepreneurs like Carl.

If you can’t come along but are interested in learning from the experience of other social enterprises and charities our podcast channel features a range of our ‘hear from a peer’ speakers.

Case studies of organisations that have received social investment and a whole range of resources can be found at